I’m Kass. Chef and Deputy Manager for one of the UKs largest pub chains. Being in the third and (hopefully) final lockdown, I’ve largely not worked since March 2020. I transitioned from 50+ hours per week working in a customer facing role, being surrounded by incredible teammates and friends, to life standing still with too much time on my hands.
Lockdown had a very big toll on my mental health. Yet it’s also opened my eyes to a bigger world I’d stopped seeing. I’ve kindled new joys – writing, painting, and the indisputable happiness of walking my dogs. Netflix binges had a large part to play, but these experiences only go so far. I was seeking something more fulfilling, something deeper within myself. I wanted to feel fulfilled.
In 2020 I found fitness; I signed up to a gym as a way to get out of the house and spend time my own thoughts.
What I discovered was incredible; I found myself. For the first time in my life, I’ve learned how to afford myself the same kindness I’ve always afforded everyone else. It’s been liberating, I’ve set targets centered around what I want. I’ve hit my targets, and then I’ve learned celebrate myself. It’s been ground-breaking for me.
Interestingly, on the flipside; I’ve missed targets, yet still been able to bolster myself and be proud of the effort I’ve put in. I’ve felt proud of the journey, rather than the outcome.
Things change daily for us all, there isn’t much we’re in control of. The pandemic has made me see that. It’s been important to me to take control of the things that I am able to.
Try to find enjoyment in the things you do, and treat yourself with kindness and compassion. When my team feel low, I ask them to tell me something they’re good at. Inevitably, I’m met with “I don’t know”. But try not to pick fault in yourself, or tear yourself down with words. We struggle to identify the great things about ourselves, but when we are forced to consider things we do well, it sparks a train of thought that leads us to more positive places.
Getting into fitness has cultivated that train of thought for me, meaning I’m stronger to lift those around me. I have truly discovered my worth, and my happiness. Although I am still far from where I’d like to be, I have come such an incredibly long way. Physically, but most importantly, mentally.
When I begin to feel uncomfortable, or that I’m not doing enough, I look at where my journey started. It is easy to become blinded by the focus to get somewhere, that we forget entirely about where it began. It’s only when we remember the journey, that we understand how much we’ve truly accomplished.
Pronouns: she/they or they/them
Titles: Queer, Chef, Pub Manager, Fitness Advocate